Allianz FL D1: Galway win western battle
Allianz Football League Division One
GALWAY 1-13 MAYO 0-11
By Cian O'Connell at Pearse Stadium
When Galway and Mayo collide a certain fascination and excitement exists so the locals left Pearse Stadium satisfied and content following a hard earned victory.
Galway haven’t operated in Division One since 2011 so the fact that a three match winning sequence has been stitched together augurs well.
It was a tense affair in Salthill with Barry McHugh’s opportunistic first half goal an important moment in a match which featured three red cards in the closing stages.
A tactical opening period was sprinkled with some moments of quality including Barry McHugh’s 19th minute goal for Galway.
That was a key score for Kevin Walsh’s charges, who departed at the break armed with a 1-4 to 0-5 advantage.
Galway, though, had edged five clear when Shane Walsh slotted a free immediately following McHugh’s major, but Mayo responded before the break.
Paddy Durcan, Diarmuid O’Connor, and Cillian O’Connor (free) all landed scores for Mayo narrowing the gap with the issue delicately poised when the teams returned to the field.
After the restart Paul Conroy’s influence increased with a couple of splendid points, while Comer continued to lead by example.
Eamon Brannigan buzzed about craving involvement and Galway’s cushion was extended to 1-11 to 0-8 with 10 minutes remaining.
A Cillian O’Connor free was quickly followed by two tasty Brannigan points and then the controversy and drama arrived.
Conroy was dismissed for a second bookable offence before Cillian O’Connor was given a straight red. Diarmuid O’Connor also was given his marching orders for a second caution.
The blow which truly mattered, though, had been administered on this occasion by McHugh. The May 13 Connacht Championship clash shouldn’t be short on intrigue or physicality.
Scorers for Galway: Barry McHugh 1-3 (2fs), Eamon Brannigan 0-3, Paul Conroy, Damien Comer, and Shane Walsh (1f) 0-2 each, Johnny Heaney 0-1.
Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor 0-5 (5fs), Paddy Durcan, Colm Boyle, Diarmuid O’Connor, Eoin O’Donoghue, Kevin McLoughlin (f), Jason Doherty (f) 0-1 each.
GALWAY: Ruairi Lavelle; Eoghan Kerin, Sean Andy O’Ceallaigh, Declan Kyne; Cathal Sweeney, Gareth Bradshaw, Sean Kelly; Paul Conroy, Peter Cooke; Johnny Heaney, Shane Walsh, Eamon Brannigan; Barry McHugh, Damien Comer, Patrick Sweeney.
Subs: Sean Armstrong for Patrick Sweeney (HT), Tom Flynn for Cooke (60), Adrian Varley for McHugh (70), Gary O’Donnell for Kelly (70), Johnny Duane for Bradshaw (70), Cein D’arcy for Comer (70).
MAYO: David Clarke; Ger Cafferkey, Caolan Crowe, Eoin O’Donoghue; Colm Boyle, Stephen Coen, Paddy Durcan; Aidan O’Shea, Jason Gibbons; Jason Doherty, Michael Hall, Diarmuid O’Connor; Kevin McLoughlin, Cillian O’Connor, Conor Loftus.
Subs: Ger McDonagh for Crowe (39-52), Donie Newcombe for Cafferkey (39-52), Adam Gallagher for Loftus (57), Fergal Boland for McLoughlin (58), Ger McDonagh for Gibbons (60), James Stretton for Boyle (63), Shane Nally for Durcan (70).
REFEREE: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).